The dynamics of men's cooperation and social status in a small-scale society

Bibliographic Collection: 
Publication Type: Journal Article
Authors: von Rueden Christopher R.; Redhead Daniel; O'Gorman Rick; Kaplan Hillard; Gurven Michael
Year of Publication: 2019
Journal: Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences
Volume: 286
Issue: 1908
Pagination: 20191367
Date Published: 2019/08/14
Publication Language: eng

We propose that networks of cooperation and allocation of social status co-emerge in human groups. We substantiate this hypothesis with one of the first longitudinal studies of cooperation in a preindustrial society, spanning 8 years. Using longitudinal social network analysis of cooperation among men, we find large effects of kinship, reciprocity and transitivity in the nomination of cooperation partners over time. Independent of these effects, we show that (i) higher-status individuals gain more cooperation partners, and (ii) individuals gain status by cooperating with individuals of higher status than themselves. We posit that human hierarchies are more egalitarian relative to other primates species, owing in part to greater interdependence between cooperation and status hierarchy.


doi: 10.1098/rspb.2019.1367

Short Title: Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences